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Tradition Setter: Why Former First-Spherical LB Rashaan Evans Selected Atlanta Falcons

Tradition Setter: Why Former First-Spherical LB Rashaan Evans Selected Atlanta Falcons

New metropolis, comparable employees. Perhaps that is what linebacker Rashaan Evans wanted after a down season in 2021. 

Evans, a 2018 first-round decide of the Tennessee Titans, struggled with consistency following the departure of longtime defensive coordinator Dean Pees. In his remaining 12 months with the Titans, Evans wasn’t even a full-time starter at center linebacker, splitting reps with David Lengthy Jr. and former Houston Texans’ standout Zach Cunningham

From the get-go, Evans thought of Atlanta because the “proper place” for him to rebound. The Falcons, who run the identical protection below Pees, wanted a alternative for league-leading tackler Foye Oluokun

“That’s the factor in regards to the NFL, issues work out the best way they do, and it’s for a purpose,” Evans advised reporters Thursday. “For me to have one other alternative to be amongst actually nice coaches, and likewise an important group and an important group that could be a match made in heaven to me, I’m excited for the season. I’m excited for this group.”

Evans’ finest season got here in 2019 below Pees within the Music Metropolis. He recorded 111 whole tackles, 9 tackles for loss, eight quarterback hits and a pair of.5 sacks. He additionally performed a career-high 86 p.c of defensive snaps. 

There’s nonetheless time for Evans, 26, to revamp his profession in Atlanta. He is already additional forward in understanding the protection than rookies Troy Andersen and Nate Landman. He additionally has a familiarity with Pees, one thing fellow veteran Nick Kwitkowski remains to be looking for. 

Evans mentioned that one of many main elements that went into his determination to signal with Atlanta was the help of Pees, calling him “greater than a coach” in all elements of his life. 

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“He’s an older man, clearly. However , he is aware of loads of issues,” Evans mentioned. “And he’s helped me quite a bit. In order that was one of many greatest issues for me coming right here.”

Atlanta will want a veteran controlling the center of the protection. Professional Bowl linebacker Deion Jones stays on the PUP record at first of camp. He additionally has been on the forefront of trade rumors and release chatter previous to the beginning of the common season. 

The Falcons may view Evans are greater than only a run-stopper up the center. Throughout his time at Alabama, he usually would shift to the skin, changing into an efficient blitzer. When Pees ran Tennessee’s protection, he usually would implore designed go rushes for Evans so as to add stress from the “A” hole.  

“Whether or not it’s on the sting, whether or not it’s within the center, wherever,” Evans mentioned of his position on the second stage. “Dean Pees and Arthur (head coach Smith) have carried out a extremely, actually good job of how they’ve used me general proper now, and , I’m simply blissful for these issues.”

Smith praised Evans for his psychological and bodily instruments that labored below Pees in Nashville. To date, all of that has been on show early in camp. And whereas Evans could have a lot to show, he is already made an influence in observe, flying to the soccer and retaining the quarterbacks’ heads on a swivel. 

Titans teammate Marcus Mariota can bear in mind Evans taking part in like a person on fireplace throughout observe in Tennessee. That is the primary time the 2 have been teammates since 2019, however in line with QB1, little has modified.

“You get a man like him, he flies round and makes performs. He creates only a mentality for that,” Mariota said. “Being round him for just a little bit in Tennessee, I believe he’s going to carry that kind of tradition right here.”

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